Sunderland and Scunthorpe shared the spoils as Adam Hammill’s late stunner cancelled out Josh Maja’s second half goal.
The first half was a poor affair where neither side got going at all. It took until the hour mark for a bit of quality as Josh Maja got the opening goal, but the hosts pushed for an equalizer which arrived through Adam Hammill on his debut.
Jack Ross’ men travelled to Scunthorpe with another sold-out away end close behind them as Sunderland looked to do the double over the Irons.
Jack Ross made three changes from the team which drew against Luton: Josh Maja replaced Charlie Wyke, Lee Cattermole who was back from suspension came in for Dylan McGeouch and James Dunne made his debut in place of Jack Baldwin.
Scunthorpe were in good form going into the game with four wins in four and had jumped up to 15th in the League One table.
Sunderland started the game on top, however it was without testing Jak Alnwick. It was a positive start from the lads who were almost in as Maja played a through ball to Max Power in the box, but it was just cut out before it could reach the midfielder.
Jon McLaughlin provided a super save to deny the hosts from taking the lead, on the break it was a great move which found George Thomas, but McLaughlin stayed big and saved with his feet.
From the following corner, James Perch latched on to a header which went well over the bar. The midfielder was in a great position to score and should have at least hit the target. It was worrying signs for Sunderland who up to that point had rarely been troubled.
To sum up how poor the half was, Sunderland’s first shot deep into the half was from Chris Maguire, about 25 yards out and it ballooned high and wide of the goal. There was no rhythm in the game and a lack of pace.
Sunderland were crying out for the half time whistle and needed to regroup and go again. Jack Ross needed to make sure his team came out with a much higher intensity and play to the team’s strengths by getting Maja more involved in the box.
Sunderland had a rare sight on goal as Aiden McGeady cut inside from the left and fired towards goal, Alnwick got down well to his right and just tipped it round the post.
After an incredibly poor hour of football, Sunderland finally put together a good bit of play. Maja miss-controlled the ball in the box and looked to have lost it, however, he picked out Reece James who whipped in a great delivery back to Maja and headed home for his 16th of the season. It was a brilliant one-two and a moment of quality which was desperately needed.
Maja has shown time and time again how important he is to this team, he scores important goals. If Sunderland are to seal promotion, he needs to be here whether he signs a new deal or not.
Ross’ men still needed a second goal to make sure this one was out of sight, but it’d been over a month since Sunderland scored more than one goal in a game.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson had a great chance at the far post to equalize, his shot was scuffed well wide as the Sunderland back line breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Duncan Watmore failed to capitalise on a great opening as he was set through by Charlie Wyke, it looked as if he was racing towards goal, but his touch was so heavy and was easily cut out by the Irons defence
The hosts were looking the more likely to get the next goal and forced McLaughlin into action. Perch’s shot was too hot to handle for the keeper who had to kick it out for a corner with Lee Novak bearing down on goal.
Scunthorpe were getting closer as Kyle Wooton got on the end of a great ball in but couldn’t get enough contact to find the back of the net.
With only five minutes to play, Adam Hammill produced a brilliant curling effort which left McLaughlin with absolutely no chance. It was a deserved equalizer as Sunderland sat back and invited pressure.
It was yet another match where Sunderland had failed to kill off the game and it is a worrying issue for Jack Ross who may need the help of a few new faces this January window.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Scunthorpe 1
ALS Man of the Match: No One